Why You Should Hear K-Pop at Least Once

Music is often viewed as an escape from the banality of life. Thankfully, there’s a growing genre everyone seems to be curious about: K-POP.

There’s so much interest within this genre, that fandoms for every possible K-POP group exist. One notable example can be seen in the popularity of the group, BTS. However, several people are asking the same question: what exactly makes K-POP popular, especially to American fans?

K-Pop is influenced by a variety genres and styles, such as Western Pop Music, rock, jazz, reggae, electronic dance, hip hop, rap, Latin, and more. K-POP is essentially a wide variety of music sung in the Korean language. This style of South Korea music originated in the 1940’s, athough the first official group to fit this category is the group, Seo Taiji and the Boys. The three member all-male group was active from 1992-1996, during which they experimented with various styles of music from the West (America). Just as Los Angeles is joined to hip-hop, Seoul is joined to K-POP, as most of the recording and music industries have their buildings within the city.

Fans can thank the internet & social media for increasing the popularity of K-POP to spread worldwide, especially with honorable mentions such as PSY with “Gangnam Style” and BTS “DNA”. Although they have become internationally famous through their songs, there are several other groups that I believe are worth knowing, since they have paved the way for PSY & BTS to become a worldwide sensation.

As an avid K-POP fan of 9 years, I wish is to share a few of my favorite artists that I believe would be great for beginners who are developing an interest in K-POP.

One of the first groups that deserves attention is Girls’ Generation (aka SNSD), a 9 member all-female group as determined by their name. With members Taeyeon, Seohyun, Sooyoung, Jessica, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Yoona, and Yuri, each girl brought something specific to this group such as vocals, dance, visuals (beauty), and rap. Girls’ Generation began their career in 2007 as part of the second generation artists of K-POP. One of their most famous songs online is, “Gee” and “Run Devil Run.” While the group unfortunately does not retain all its original members, due in part to Jessica’s leave in 2014 and certain members’ contracts ending, there still remains 6 active members in this group who recently created the single, “Lil Touch”. I believe that Girls’ Generation paved the way for girl groups, since their empowering style is an obvious influence found in many following groups.

Another group whose popularity I’d like to acknowledge is Super Junior, due to their influence on the male groups in K-POP. Super Junior originally started as a 13 member male group, but debuted with 12 members. Through their active time as a group, there have been 5 different units created for Super Junior to allow members to do projects in smaller groups within the official 12 members. However, over time this group has decreased to 8 active members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon and Ryeowook. A few of their greatest hits include “Sorry Sorry”, “Mr. Simple”, and their most recent release, “One More Time (Otra Vez).” One reason I chose to highlight them is because their music style has begun to shift towards a Latin influence, as they’ve begun collaborating with artists such as Leslie Grace & Reik. With this new collaboration of Hispanic/Latino music and Korean Pop, there is definitely going to be a rise in popularity for this group in the near future.

Additionally, I’d like to shout out Hyuna, a solo artist who has demonstrated her dedication to her singing career despite being embattled in the middle of a controversial issue in Korea. She started her singing career as a trainee for the group Wonder Girls in the late 2000s, but went on to become an official member of the girl group, 4Minute, from 2009-2016. As the main rapper & dancer of the group, she rose to fame with her unique on-stage personality. She had released solo projects on the side such as songs like, “Change” and “Bubble Pop.” Once 4Minute disbanded in 2016, she continued to follow her solo career and releasing songs like “Lip & Hip” & “Babe”. She was also part of the trio Triple H with two members from the group, Pentagon, Hui & E’Dawn.

Unfortunately, just a month ago, her company, Cube Entertainment, decided to release a statement online about removing her due to her secret relationship with Triple H member E’Dawn because of a strict no dating policy. Though they retract their statement by stating it was not officially confirmed, she decided to leave the company with E’Dawn so that they can be free to date without a company destroying their feelings for each other. I have hope that she will continue to succeed without Cube Entertainment holding her back.

Now, of course, as a fan of 9 years, there is one group I hold in higher regard than any other. The girl group 2NE1 will forever remain my favorite for one sole reason: their love towards their fans.

2NE1 formed officially in 2009 and remained active until 2016. This girl group stands out above other 2nd generation artists as they were considered the “girl crush” type of style in their performances. The members include CL the main rapper, Bom Park as main vocals, Dara as the overall visuals of the group, and Minzy the main dancer. One of their most viewed songs on YouTube is “I Am The Best”, which will seem familiar as most commercials have featured this song for electronic products. During their active years, they had their own show called 2NE1 TV, where they allowed fans in to see their bond with each other behind the scenes from their busy lives as artists. 2NE1 also competed for MTV Iggy’s Best New Band in 2011 & won this title where they were able to perform their music for fans worldwide on MTV.

Unfortunately, when the member Bom Park’s name started appearing in the news for a controversial scandal involving medication and being prescribed them in a different country that doesn’t follow South Korea’s laws, the girl group fell into a hiatus for about a year and then appeared in the 2015 MAMA Awards in South Korea for what would be the last appearance as a group. A few months later, the girls officially announced their disbandment, and ended their time together with their heartbreaking song, “Goodbye”.

Since this group had been my favorite for years, it broke my heart…to the point where it almost felt like I was going to quit my interest in K-POP. But being part of this fan-base reminded me that, even though they are no longer together as a group, we should still support them in their solo endeavors. As of right now, CL is trying to debut as an artist in America, Bom has made a recent appearance in the Netflix show YG Future Strategy Office and has been teasing a possible comeback, Minzy is a solo artist who just graduated university, and Dara is back home in the Philippines doing talk shows & traveling the world.

As a K-POP fan, I can wholeheartedly tell you that the dedication you put towards the genre goes a long way into helping you connect with not only the artists, but the culture surrounding the genre.

With that said, there’s actually a lot more that goes into supporting an artist’s music. Of course, you an buy merchandise from trusted sites or shops, attend K-Con Los Angeles or New York for an ultimate K-POP experience, and create forums to connect with other fans around the world. Honestly, just being an international fan allows you to gain so much respect for the artist and their dedication to become a well-known sensation. There’s so much heart and soul that goes into the music and choreography alone, that fans are willing to make the artist has taken the time to take care of themselves. They will even ensure that an artist eaten or slept enough before seeing them live.

Overall, I recommend that everyone jump into the so-called “bandwagon” and show your support for the K-POP community. It’s amazing to see that K-Pop as a whole is finally being represented in the United States with plenty of support from American celebrities. One thing is for certain; K-Pop won’t be fading away anytime soon.

Written by: Sofia Gomez

Meet KCR Djs: Jini Shim and Nick Mararac with K-Pop and More

Kpop N More! Tune in Tuesdays 10-11am for an hour of Korean music and mini Korean language lessons to quench your curiosity beyond that so-called “Gangnam Style”.

Some artists that we feature on air:

Big Bang


Epik High



Lee Sun Hee

Seo Taiji

3rd Line Butterfly

and more


Some Korean language topics we talk about:

What does ‘물끄러미’ mean?

What are some idioms that contain the word ‘poop’?

Why can’t you say 당신 to say ‘you’ in real conversation while you hear it so often in song?

Yep. And some more.


About the DJs:

Jini Shim is a graduate student of Applied Linguistics at SDSU. Her research interests are in Korean language translation/interpretation process and 1.5 generationers’ second language acquisition. Aside from being a walking Korean culture ambassador, she enjoys attending film festivals, discovering the next tasty stout, and noshing on vegan desserts.

Nick Mararac is a student at SDSU. He studies linguistics, french and Korean. He received his BS from the US Naval Academy. He enjoys traveling around the world, analyzing language, reading reddit, and lifting weights. You can probably find him on Grindr, or at a North Park cafe.

Follow us on Twitter @jjini

or Facebook.com/teamsejong

Jini’s Kpop Hour – Show Recap: Wed, Dec 3, 2014

photoKpop fans! In case you missed today’s show, here’s a recap of today’s Jini’s Kpop Hour:

Starting today off with Esmeralda’s song request: This is Love by Super Junior

Here are a few newly released songs:
APink’s LUV

Hyolyn x Jooyoung’s Erase , featuring Iron

A fellow KCR-ian, Cameron, who does a sports talk show, is doing a series of interviews of several KCR DJs, and he interviewed me today. I had a great time because he asked questions that made me reflect back on what brings me to KCR to play Korean music and why I enjoy doing it. I want to play Kpop on KCR not only because I like Korean music and I’m Korean myself, but I think it’s meaningful to promote culture and diversity anywhere, everywhere you are–especially at a space like SDSU, a university where all these young smart people of all backgrounds are gathered to learn and share cultures.

And of course, it’s just cool to be sitting in a nice studio being able to play the music you like, controlling the soundboard. 😉

Son Dam-bi – Bad Boy

Zia – Rumor

The 2014 MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) happened on Dec 3rd and here are a few songs of the winners.

10cm – Sseudam Sseudam

Hi Suhyun – I’m Different

Album of the Year: EXO – Overdose

Song of the Year: Taeyang – Eyes, Nose, Lips

Out of the many other categories, let me play you a few more winning songs.
Female artist of the year: IU’s Good Day

Female group of the year: Sistar’s I Swear

Jini’s Kpop Hour – Show Recap: Nov 6, 2014

Hey KCR listeners!
Hello everyone- 안녕하세요- that’s hello for you in Korean. (Ahn-nyung-ha-se-yo)
If you missed today’s Kpop Hour, do not despair! Here’s a recap:
Starting today off is the song ‘Don’t Touch Me’ by Ailee, followed by a newly released song and which is currently ranking number 1 on the Korean music chart ‘melon’ is the girl group SPICA’s new single “Ghost”.
Fall season calls for a more mellow, slower-tempo music and the Korean music chart is currently full of such romantic and melancholic songs, if you know what I mean.  Representing this autumn season is Yun-gun’s “Fall is Blowing”.
Followed by Block B’s “HER”
and Girls’ Generation’s “Europa”
Let me say something more about Block’s B’s song title. So it’s HER, most likely referring to a certain female love interest, but ‘HER’ in Korean is also a slang. So you can use it when you’re like, surprised at something, kind of like a ‘oh my gosh’. It’s not vulgar so you can use it in public and won’t get the mad stare, but it’s still slang and not the most proper to use among elders.
Here’s another fun slang. “Dae Bak”. This implies something like “that’s the best!”— an exclamation at something that is pleasantly surprising and awe-inspiring. (e.g. “Jini’s Kpop Hour is dae-bak!”
Next let’s take a look at what’s the latest in the Kpop world. I’m looking at Allkpop.com for some Kpop related news.
Super Junior celebrates its 9th anniversary since debut
Fans celebrate Kris’s birthday. Happy birthday to Kris (Wu Yi Fan)! (he is a former EXO member)
Subunit INFINITE F release teaser video for ‘my heart is beating’
Last week I mentioned that a lot of Kpop groups often release new music that has only a few of their group members involved, so this is another one of those cases. We can speculate that this happens often because there are just so many members in Kpop groups and they are able to divide up and still work as a boy/girl group band. Famous for having a lot of members is Girls’ Generation with 9 girls, and Super Junior with 10 guys (they started off with 12!).
There’s also news about a new movie that’s released, called ‘Tailors’. It looks like it’s like a historical drama. Korea often has movies or TV dramas that are a historical piece and it’s known for its elaborate traditional costume “Hanbok”, worn by the royalty back in the day. Since this film is titled “Tailors”, I say we can expect to see even more luxurious and beautifully made traditional clothes.
Last article to review for the day: the girl group AOA revealed a highlight medley for “Like a Cat”, their upcoming single.
Check it out here:
Speaking of films, there is an opportunity for those of you in San Diego to enjoy Korean movies this week:
I invite you to the 15th San Diego Asian Film Festival – from November 6 – 15.
This year’s line-up includes 140 films from 21 different countries, including the following films from Korea:
A HARD DAY, Korean action thriller
VENUS TALK, romantic comedy about middle aged women living young
NON-FICTION DIARY, documentary about 1994 serial killing case
You can see the full line up at:  http://festival.sdaff.org/.
Song request by my friend Thomas:
Cherry Filter’s Nang-man-go-yang-ee “Romantic Cat”. Isn’t that cute?
Cherry Filter is a South Korean rock group formed in 1997. This is one of their best known songs.
Thomas says he likes this song because it’s a good song and it’s fun to also sing along to.
That’s all for today! Tune in next week: Wednesday from 11am to 12pm here on KCR, Sound of State